Dr. Dos

What have you created with ZZT, or related to ZZT?

It started off with Island of ZZT around 1997 when I first got ZZT. The first released game I made was Virus 302, a very generic adventure game. Then came other games the Idiot Police Demo, Virus 302 Special Edition, Berzerk 2000, and Simple Games for Simple Minds. As far as games I can see people still enjoying today there would be Mooseka Rules With an Iron Fist, Fuzzy Love Horror, and Aura. The only utility I made was PureSTK which combined the STK, MoreSTK, and WeirdSTK files into one large file to make it easier to find obscure items. With external editors like Kev-Edit though, it's pretty obsolete.

When you think about ZZT, what games come to your mind and why?

Burger Joint really stands out as one of the most unique ZZT games there is. MadGuy was a tremendous inspiration when I first found other ZZT games and I always loved his work. Evil Sorcerors' Party also comes to mind. If it was a 3rd person adventure game released in the LucasArts era I could see plenty of people buying it. If any ZZT game has ever reached commercial quality ESP is it.

Have you created any games outside of ZZT?

I ported Aura to Megazeux because they were missing out on what many people considered the best ZZT game of 2004. I've also messed around with the TI-83+ graphing calculator, but never made anything too complex or fun with it.

Do you have any artistic pursuits other than making games?

I'm afraid not. I'm not the best at creating new things.

What are you up to, lately (in life, generally)?

Despite turning 18 this September I only just got my driver's permit so I'm working on getting my license. I spend most of my time on irc and playing or emulating games.

Has your experience with ZZT or the ZZT scene made any sort of lasting impact on your life?

Oh boy. Having been in the community as far back as 1998 and still being active in it it really has greatly influenced my life. It's given me plenty of friends despite me being introverted, it's given me my sense of humor, introduced me to new and horrible things, a large amount of websites I regularly read were first linked from people involved with ZZT. Somewhere there's a quote of me saying how without the ZZT community I'd probably be straight, popular, and normal.

What works of non-ZZT art have inspired you the most?

Books and music haven't inspired me too much, but games have. Aura was created due to the chance of playing Gauntlet and then Ikaruga right after. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow for GBA is why my Weekend of ZZT game Dracula's Curse was somewhat non-linear. A lot of discontinued projects began after watching a movie. At one point I actually started a game where the goal was to find 99 red balloons and release them all fulfilling the events which occured in the song 99 Red Balloons by Nena where a nuclear war occurs as the balloons are picked up on radar as Soviet bombers. The Legend of Zelda is another key game. I always loved the vast overworld where you just explore, it may get tedious at points but it's always fun to find someplace new.

Do you have any interesting stories to relate about ZZT or the ZZT scene?

If the modern zztcommunity is any sign I'll have one soon enough. At my school for your senior year we have senior projects. Seeing as how I can't think of anything (although I have several months to do so), the best idea I've come up with so far is to head to the elementary school, grab some 5th or 6th graders, take them to the computer lab and teach them ZZT. Assuming I do this I'm sure they'll eventually find z2 and I'll have corrupted several young children and have to live with that. Such is the cost of graduating I suppose.

Do you plan to create any games in the future, with or without ZZT?

I really would love to be a serious programmer, but I'm not willing to put in the effort to learn a language that could actually be used. ZZT-OOP was a godsend for this. You can certainly teach an 8 year old BASIC but I guarentee you in one hour they won't be able to have a player shoot at lions and grab some keys to open a door and save the princess. ZZT is beautiful in this respect. You can get so much out of it yet still put in so little. I will continue to use ZZT for quite some time, especially since I always try to accomplish new things with it. I'd like to make a sequel to Aura at some point, and actually have started messing around with MZX with an idea for a sequel. Unfortunately my Robotic skills are lacking and I've yet to get anything working. For ZZT I'm working on a Roguelike style game (although not actually random). The dungeon engine is complete and is different from most. The battle engine is still being developed and is based on Legend of Legaia for PSX where you fight by choosing high/low kick or left/right punch and if you choose a certain order you do a combo for extra damage. Then there's also the inventory system which will be similar to that of Pepper Bollete's where you warp to another board for inventory management. It's probably too ambitious really, most things I start are.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I'm quite honored to be chosen for an interview actually. It's not like I was around when you were. I also have to give props to you for your old game Turmoil which was always a favorite of mine. I also can't forget about Seiklus, a wonderful game that appears to be known outside of the zzt community as well.

- May 2006